2 Timothy 1:3-7 – “I am grateful to God – whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did – when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power, and of love, and of self-discipline.”
Paul is writing to Timothy as a leader in a very new church. He’s trying to encourage Timothy, though he remembers the tears Timothy shed, possibly seeing Paul dragged away by the Romans. He’s honest that there are tough circumstances in their lives, but he focuses on this being so much larger than what is happening here and now.
He compliments the sincerity of Timothy’s faith, and connects it to a long line of faithful heritage. Maybe you enjoy a heritage like Timothy’s. Maybe you connect yourself with the heritage of those who helped lead you to Christ. Maybe you’re beginning a new heritage that someday your grandchildren will be encouraged by.
No matter what our lineage, though, the emphasis here is not on where you come from or who you came from. The emphasis is on the spirit that you have been given as a gift from God. A gift that apparently we need reminded of and “rekindled” at times.
This “rekindling” makes me think of hockey. I’m excited there will actually be a season this year, even if it’s shortened!! If you watch much, you’ve seen a game where there’s only a minute left in the game. The score is 3-2, and the losing team pulls their goalie as a last ditch effort. It allows them to have an extra attacker on the ice…and sometimes they can score a goal right away. When they score that “GOAL!!!!!” and it becomes 3-3….tied up with less than a minute to play – their spirit is re-kindled. They see hope in a potential victory. The momentum is in their favor, and you see it on their faces, their energy, and their enthusiasm. You also see it in the desperation in the opposing team.
This is what we’ve just gone through at Christmas. Yes, there are difficult circumstances in our lives. We each know of areas of our world that bring us to our knees in prayer. But we’ve celebrated Christmas, and have been reminded that Jesus has come to be Lord over all things. That God is Immanuel – God with us. This is sooo much more than a tied hockey game. The victory is ours. The spirit we’ve been given is NOT a spirit of the cowardly, that goes with the flow and tries not to upset the status quo.
It’s a Spirit of POWER…not our strength, but God’s. Of Love….not romantic emotions of fluff….but actual, save the world and love the unloved stuff. And finally, of self-discipline – So that the power we have access to stays in check, and the love God has given us retains its inherent purpose.
So today, and this year….may your gift be rekindled. The victory is ours. May it show on your faces, in the speed of your skates, and the way you handle the puck. With power. With love. And with self-discipline.